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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Can a tenant leave before the end of a sec 21 notice without

Resolved Question:

Can a tenant leave before the end of a sec 21 notice without liability for rent to the notice date and with only a weeks notice they're leaving.
Submitted: 1 year ago via Tenancy Agreement Service.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

jomo1972 :

Hi Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.


 


In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles. What type of contract is it?

Customer:

It is a periodic tenancy that came out of the fixed term on the 27 June 2013. Notice was served giving 2 months notice to end the tenancy on 27 August.

jomo1972 :

Thanks.

jomo1972 :

No, he cannot. I am sorry if this is bad news.

jomo1972 :

This is an entirely stand alone situation. It is not to do with the S21 notice.

jomo1972 :

The S21 notice does not mean a tenant can leave at any time during the term of it. It gives a leaving date. The tenant is liable up until that date and after if he does not go.

jomo1972 :

If the tenant wants to leave then on a periodic he can but he needs to give no less than one months notice on or before the rent date.

jomo1972 :

A few weeks notice is not sufficient.

jomo1972 :

I am sorry if this is bad news.

Customer:

Hi Jo, the problem we have is that we need to move back in on the tenancy end date and we are dependant on the rent. They say that they have a place to move to which they will lose unless they move in on 1 August, they told us this today. So in these circumstances can we withhold rent due from the deposit? Iain

jomo1972 :

Yes, that just isnt' sufficient notice.

jomo1972 :

Thats only just over 7 days.

Customer:

If they just dig in their heels if they lose the place they have on 1 Aug and stay in the house, how much would it cost to evict?

Customer:

Is it possible to make deductions from the deposit if they leave early?

jomo1972 :

its not expensive to evict. The problem is lost rent. While they live there you are not likely to get rent payments. You do get a compensation order at the end but obviously that isnt always worth having.

jomo1972 :

You don't have to tell them that you intend to make deductions actually until they leave. You do have to tell them that you don't accept this amount of notice though.

jomo1972 :

If they leave without giving you proper notice then you can make proportionate deductions from the deposit.

Customer:

How do we communicate with the tenant without compromising our deduction from the deposit - if we agree they can go wouldn't that mean we lose this? Can we say something like we are not happy with the notice given but realise that they are set on leaving.

jomo1972 :

Yes, if you agree that they can go then its game over.

jomo1972 :

I actually wouldn't comment at all. Unless it is to say something like we have received your notice.

jomo1972 :

There's no obligation to comment at this stage.

Customer:

Our managing agent seems to think they can go anytime before the notice expires and probably has told them this - can we claim against them for rent not paid if they go before the date of the notice?

jomo1972 :

Oh yes, they can go when they like. The issue is not whether they are present in the house but whether they are liable to pay rent.

jomo1972 :

You can't claim against them up until the notice date.

jomo1972 :

But you can claim against them up until the date when their notice runs out.

jomo1972 :

So, if it was served yesterday it should be one month from the date of the next rent date.

Customer:

Sorry but the agent seems to think they can leave within the notice period with no liability for rent. So if the tenant leaves on this understanding are the agents liable? As far as I know the tenant hasn't given any formal notice just told the agent.

jomo1972 :

There is an argument that the agents are liable in negligence but I wouldn't get involved in that. The claim is against the tenants. The tenant should give written notice but that can be to the agents.

Customer:

Incidentally the agent found them the house they are moving to, so they will be getting money from this as well as us.

jomo1972 :

Its still a better claim against the tenants.

Customer:

Would we be compromising our right to outstanding rent if we accepted the keys from the agent before the end date of the notice.

jomo1972 :

No, you can take the keys back.

Customer:

Sorry that we sound so money grabbing on this but we are on very tight finances and depend on this money

jomo1972 :

No, its fine. I completely understand. You are entitled to one months notice.

jomo1972 :

There's no point in being a wealth creator if you don't make money from it.

Customer:

Many thanks for your help.

jomo1972 :

No problem.

jomo1972 :

All the best

jomo1972 :

Please remember to rate my answer.

Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 65357
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
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